These metal singers knew that it's tough to break into the music business, but that a good stage name might give you a leg up in a sea of boring Bruces, James, and Roberts.
A number of people on this list changed their names to make them catchier or easier to remember. "John Francis Bongiovi, Jr." or "Ronald James Padavona" both take up a lot more space on an album cover than "Jon Bon Jovi" or "Ronnie James Dio." From black metal and thrash to power metal, these stage names are memorable - and the singers who chose them knew they would be.
This list of famous stage names includes metal singers who go by nicknames and famous people who have changed their names. It does not, however, include singers who use their married surnames professionally, had their names legally changed as children, or celebrities with obviously theatrical stage names. We all can guess King Diamond wasn't born with the first name King.
But not every metal singer chose a stage name that stands out. You may have guessed that Lemmy Kilmister used a stage name, but it's the "Lemmy" part he wasn't born with, not the "Kilmister." Which of these metal singers have the most surprising birth names?
Albums: VictorAlexandar Zivojinovich, (born 27 August 1953), better known by his stage name Alex Lifeson, is a Canadian musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer, best known as the guitarist of the... more
Albums: Welcome to My Nightmare, Hey Stoopid, Brutal Planet, Trash, ConstrictorAlice Cooper (born Vincent Damon Furnier; February 4, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spans over 50 years. With his distinctive raspy voice and a stage show that... more
Albums: AftermathAmy Lynn Hartzler (née Lee; born December 13, 1981), known professionally as Amy Lee, is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. She is the co-founder and lead vocalist of the rock band... more
- W. Axl Rose (born February 6, 1962) is an American singer, songwriter, record producer and musician. He is the lead vocalist of the hard rock band Guns N' Roses, and has also been the band's sole... more
Albums: Songs of Life, Freedom of Sound, Jammin' with Friends, A Letter From Death Row, Show Me Your Hits! A Salute to PoisonBret Michael Sychak (born March 15, 1963), professionally known as Bret Michaels, is an American singer-songwriter and musician. He gained fame as the lead singer of the glam metal band Poison who... more
Albums: The Early Years 1967-1972, With the Spektors and the Valentines, Round and Round: The Forgotten Years, Round and Round and Round, Seasons of Change Raven/RCA 1971-72 (disc 2)Ronald Belford "Bon" Scott (9 July 1946 – 19 February 1980) was an Australian singer, songwriter and instrumentalist, best known for being the lead vocalist and lyricist of the Australian hard rock... more
- Scott Mitchell Putesky (April 28, 1968 – October 22, 2017), also known as Daisy Berkowitz, was an American musician, who was the lead guitarist and co-founder of the industrial metal band Marilyn... more
Albums: ***hole, Gene Simmons, Sex Money KissGene Klein (born Chaim Witz on August 25, 1949), known professionally as Gene Simmons, is an Israeli-American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, entrepreneur, actor, author, and... more
Albums: Deadly Night ShadeJoey Belladonna (born Joseph Bellardini, October 13, 1960) is an American thrash metal musician, best known as the vocalist for the thrash metal band Anthrax. He is also the vocalist and drummer of... more
Albums: Blaze of Glory, Destination Anywhere, The Power Station Years: The Unreleased Recordings, Queen of New Orleans, JanieJohn Francis Bongiovi Jr. (born March 2, 1962), known professionally as Jon Bon Jovi, is an American singer-songwriter, record producer, philanthropist, and actor. Bon Jovi is best known as the... more
Albums: (It) Feels So GoodSteven Tyler (born Steven Victor Tallarico; March 26, 1948) is an American singer, songwriter, actor, and former television panelist. He is best known as the lead singer of the Boston-based rock band... more
Albums: One for All, Peter Criss, Let Me Rock You, Cat #1, Out of ControlGeorge Peter John Criscuola (born December 20, 1945), better known by his stage name Peter Criss, is a retired American musician and actor, best known as a co-founder, original drummer, and... more
Albums: The Sinister Urge, Past, Present & Future, Hellbilly Deluxe, American Made Music to Strip ByRob Zombie (born Robert Bartleh Cummings; January 12, 1965) is an American musician and filmmaker. He is a founding member of the heavy metal band White Zombie, releasing four studio albums with the... more
Albums: Talk Is Cheap, Volume 2, Talk Is Cheap, Volume 1, The Flaming Lips and Stardeath and White Dwarfs with Henry Rollins and Peaches Doing The Dark Side of the MoonHenry Lawrence Garfield (born February 13, 1961), better known as Henry Rollins, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, actor, presenter, comedian, and activist. He currently hosts a weekly... more
- Chris Slade (born Christopher Slade Rees; 30 October 1946) is a Welsh rock musician and drummer, best known for playing for the Australian hard rock band AC/DC. He is the current drummer for the... more
Albums: Carry On, You Know My Name, Euphoria Morning, Scream, Part of MeChristopher John Cornell (né Boyle; July 20, 1964 – May 18, 2017) was an American musician, singer and songwriter. He was best known as the lead vocalist for the rock bands Soundgarden and... more
Doro - born Dorothee PeschDoro is the second solo album of the German female hard rock singer Doro Pesch. The album was released on 25 September 1990.... more
C.C. DeVille - born Bruce Anthony JohannessonGlam metal, Hard rockC.C. DeVille (born Bruce Anthony Johannesson; May 14, 1962) is the lead guitarist of the multi-platinum-selling glam metal band Poison. His work with the band has sold over 45 million records... more
Cozy Powell - born Colin Trevor FlooksBlues-rock, Rock music
Albums: Dance With the Devil, Tilt, Over the Top, Octopuss, The Best of Cozy PowellCozy Powell (Born Colin Trevor Flooks) (29 December 1947 – 5 April 1998) was an English rock drummer, who made his name with many major rock bands and artists like The Jeff Beck Group, Rainbow, Gary... more
- Darrell Lance Abbott (August 20, 1966 – December 8, 2004), best known by his stage name Dimebag Darrell, was an American musician and songwriter. He was the guitarist of the heavy metal bands Pantera... more
Albums: My Favorite HeadacheGeddy Lee Weinrib, (born Gary Lee Weinrib; July 29, 1953), known professionally as Geddy Lee, is a Canadian musician, singer, and songwriter best known as the lead vocalist, bassist, and keyboardist... more
- Terence Michael Joseph "Geezer" Butler (born 17 July 1949) is an English musician and songwriter. Butler is best known as the bassist and primary lyricist of the heavy metal band Black Sabbath. He... more
- Bradley Mark "Brad" Stewart (September 11, 1969 – October 8, 2008), known by his stage name Gidget Gein, was an American musician and artist. He was the second bassist and co-founder of the... more
- Jan Axel "Hellhammer" Blomberg (born August 2, 1969) is a Norwegian heavy metal drummer. He is best known as the drummer of Mayhem, which he joined in 1988. In 1987 Blomberg formed the avant-garde... more